Words Matter: How to write copy that evokes connection and motivates action

It’s commonly thought that someone is either a naturally good writer or they aren’t.

But copywriting is a skill, not a natural ability.

So, whether you consider yourself a natural writer or not, you can learn how to write compelling copy that creates connection and persuades action.

You use words in all your marketing and communications. So, let’s explore how you can apply copywriting skills to everything you write so that your copy starts working harder for you.

What is 'Copy?'

Copy is the written word. Copywriting is the practice of writing words with the intent to motivate action or create awareness.

The words you write have the power to communicate, explain, market and ultimately, sell.

Well-honed copy can help move people through the stages of awareness, increase understanding and connection, and make you the choice someone makes to solve their problems.

What is a Copywriter?

A copywriter is a person who specialises in writing for marketing purposes. You will find copywriters that concentrate on email marketing, sales pages, content creation (that’s lead magnets, blogs and social media), web copy and even white papers.

You can also find copywriters who will write scripts for your video content, podcasts or speaking opportunities.

Why are Copy and the style of your writing critical?

More often than not, a new potential client will find you either on social media, via Google or through word of mouth. When they find you through word of mouth, the first thing they’ll do is hit your Facebook or your website.

This means that their first interaction with you will not be in person. So, the words on your social media and website will be the make or break factor of whether they are convinced it’s worth reaching out to speak to you.

Do they believe you are the answer to their problems? Do they feel they’d enjoy working with you?

I always recommend writing in your natural tone. You want every client you connect with to have a consistent experience with you. It helps them to feel safe and to build trust.

If the way you communicate on your website differs hugely from how you show up in emails or on the phone, then that creates unease.

The foundation of your marketing is building what is called ‘know, like and trust.’

You want your audience to feel an affinity and a feeling of knowing you before they even meet you.

So write in your own voice and use words that you’d naturally use in conversation.

When you do this, your writing will feel easier, and you’ll effortlessly find you are consistent because you’re not trying to be someone else.

You can be professional without being formal. Formal, corporate copy doesn’t create the emotional connection that is so important in your field of work.

What is the impact on your business?

Compelling copy will help you to communicate your ethos, values and the solutions you offer.

The dog training world is a saturated market. What will make you different is simply YOU!

By learning the art of copywriting, you can craft words that allow your audience to see just what is so special about working with you.

There might be plenty of other people doing what you do, but the client experience won’t be the same as working with you.

You have to be visible so that people can find you!

There are plenty of options available to you to make that happen.

You might choose to focus on building an email list. For this, you will need some kind of lead magnet that delivers value and an email sequence that begins to nurture that relationship.

You might choose to use social media as your primary source of clients, in which case you will need to provide value and nurture and engage with your audience regularly.

Or you might choose content marketing like blogs to build a library of free resources that clearly communicate your expertise and give your audience some quick wins.

In all these scenarios, your copy will be the gamechanger.

4 immediate top tips to transform your copywriting skills

Ditch the dog trainer talk

Every time you sit down to write anything, a social media post, an email or even a handout for classes, be mindful of common dog trainer terms that are so ingrained in you that you forget regular dog owners may not know what they mean.

I’m talking about words like reactive, antecedent, luring, shaping, and even positive reinforcement.

If you’re going to use these words in your communications, then you need to explain what they mean in plain language so that your audience can easily understand what you’re saying.

If a reader has to think too hard, they will switch off.

Stop writing for your peers and keep your target clients front of mind whenever you’re writing for them.


Your headlines are the difference between someone reading what you’ve written or scrolling on.

In an email, your headline is your subject line.

A good headline grabs attention and tells the reader what to expect inside. Clickbaity headlines erode trust, so steer well clear.

Before you hit publish, review your headline to check that what’s inside the piece is what the reader will have expected based on your headline.

Include a power word in your headline for impact. A power word is a word that evokes an emotion and a response.

Words like imagine, never, secret, forever, suddenly, discover, and EPIC(!) are all power words that will help your headline pack some punch.

You can find an extensive list of power words for inspiration here.

Some examples of headline formulas to work from:

How to {do xyz] in just 5 minutes a day

This works because people are busy, and they want results. With this headline, you tell them that they can achieve what they want with just a small commitment of time each day.

3 mistakes you’re making with [xyz]

This headline creates curiosity. We all want to know the mistakes we’re making with our dogs so that we can avoid them. And the number 3 lets us immediately know we’re not in for a lengthy list of overwhelming stuff.

Discover why [insert common question your clients ask]

Your client’s all have questions about their dogs. They seek to understand why their dog pulls on the lead, why they won’t stop barking or why they don’t like their harness. Create content that answers your most commonly asked questions and instantly give your audience what they want.

Try this copywriting formula

Copywriting formulas make your writing easier. When you start with a framework, it forces you to map out your story, so it has a beginning, middle and an end. Most importantly, they make you consider your target reader before you write a word.

PASO Formula: Pain, Agitate, Solution, Outcome

This is a popular copywriting formula that is very effective. With this formula, you are taking your reader on a journey of feelings. Starting from the pain or problem they are currently facing right through to what life could look like with your solution to their woes.

Pain: What is your target reader feeling? Describe the pain or problem they are experiencing, and immediately your reader will feel understood.

Agitate: Dip into those feelings a little deeper. Allow your reader to see clearly how profoundly you understand their predicament.

Solution: Explain the solution you offer. Show your reader that there is an answer to their problem.

Outcome: Paint the picture of what their life looks like once their problem is solved. A brilliant power word to use here is ‘imagine.’ Encourage your reader to envisage their life once they’ve committed to solving their problem. Leaving them with all the feel goods when they reach the end.

The rule of one

You have so much knowledge you want to impart that you want to tell it all at once.

But for your audience, this can be overwhelming.

When we are confronted with too much information in one go, we can enter a state of paralysis.

Make it easy for your readers by focusing on one topic, one call to action, and one target client persona for each social media post, email or blog you write.

Blogging is a brilliant way for you to share all of your valuable hints, tips and education without evoking overwhelm.

You can include links inside each blog for your reader to gain further insight and answers to a topic without them being confronted with an intense amount of information on one page.

For example, if you write a piece about pulling on the lead, you may also want to explain distraction, duration and distance. Pen a separate blog on this and link to it in your leash pulling blog.

You might also want to help them choose a good harness. Again, create another blog on this and link to it in your leash pulling blog.

This allows your reader to hop around and find the info they desire without being flooded with too much info at once. They can focus on one thing at a time, which makes them more likely to retain the information and to take action.

In conclusion

Once you start practising writing copy using these tips, it will soon become easier and more natural for you. Suddenly, you’ll be using power words without even thinking about them, and you’ll be considering the pain points of your clients in all of your communications.

The result is that you’ll create stronger connections, clearer communications, and your marketing will begin converting into solid leads from ideal clients who get your offers and the benefits of working with you.

If you’d like some help with copywriting, please get in touch. I specialise in writing blog posts for dog trainers and dog professionals, but I also write email sequences, lead magnets and web copy. <link to>

I write in your tone of voice so that you keep consistency across all your communications. And I spend an awful lot of time keeping up-to-date info on all things dogs, so you don’t have to consume an incessant amount of time teaching me the ins and outs of modern dog training.

BIO: This is a guest blog by Rikki Sullivan, The Canine Copywriter. Rikki is a copywriter specialising in helping pet businesses with copy that attracts, engages, and converts.

She is both dog and marketing obsessed. Rikki has a deep passion for helping dog owners find up-to-date positive solutions to all their woes and questions. She wants to help them find YOU!

Find Rikki at or on social media @thecaninecopywriter.

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